Construction professor gains 10k for investigation

Professor Robyn Phipps.

Massey University's high-flying construction professor has taken home $10,000 to further an investigation into specialist training within the construction industry.

Professor Robyn Phipps, of the School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, took home the New Zealand Institute of Building Charitable Trust’s Awards of Excellence on Friday night in Auckland. A panel of three NZIOB past presidents reviewed 15 entries and selected Professor Phipps and University of Auckland’s Gerard Finch for the inaugural Scholarship Award, worth $10,000.

Professor Phipps will use the award to investigate the plausibility of façade engineering training by the University.

Façade engineers are involved with a building's external enclosure. This includes design, manufacture and installation, beyond the skillsets of traditional architects, structural or mechanical engineers. They aid both the designers of new buildings, and the consenting authorities, by assessing building facades to ensure that they will not leak and that they perform all the functions required of modern buildings.

The investigation will involve travelling to one of the World’s best-known centres of excellence in the field of facade engineering at the University of Waterloo. Once there, Professor Phipps will explore how building facade training could be delivered to suitably qualified building practitioners in this country.

The Trust established the Awards to recognise, encourage and financially support recipients from a trade, technical or professional role pursue a project linked to building through research, practice or professional development.

Trust chair, Mrs Gina Jones, said, “the Trust introduced these Awards to encourage aspirational thinking with the potential to advance the design, construction or management of buildings in New Zealand, and thereby enhance the quality of our built environment.”

“The NZIOB Charitable Trust congratulates Robin Phipps and Ged Finch. The research proposals they submitted are well aligned with the aim of the Awards, which is to better the construction industry and the built environment,” Mrs Jones said.